Wednesday, April 18.
Utah's Sensitive Species
Meet at 7:00 PM
in the Bean Museum Auditorium
on the BYU Campus
Frank Howe, Division of Wildlife Resources Avian Coordinator for the
Frank Howe will speak to us about some of Utah's Sensitive Species such as
Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Black Swift, Long- billed Curlew, Grasshopper Sparrow, and Burrowing Owl.
April 27 & 28, Friday night and Saturday -- Portage, Locomotive
Springs and Golden Spike Natl. Historic site.
Target birds: Sharp Tailed Grouse, Hungarian Grouse (Gray Partridge) and Grasshopper Sparrow.
May 10, 11 & 12, Thursday night, Friday and Saturday -- St. George area.
May 16, Wednesday -- The Tintics
May 19, Saturday -- Big Day
Details at the April Birder's Meeting.
The "Eyes" Have It
by Dennis Shirley
Carolyn and I have been gone to San Antonio, Texas this
past week. That's why many of you left messages that weren't returned until just
recently. Believe it or not, it was not a birding trip. However, you can bet
that there was at least one pair of binoculars in our baggage. The main purpose
of our trip was to visit our three grandkids (and also our son and
daughter-in-law). We did the usual bonding: fishing with my grandson, McDonalds,
reading stories, playing catch, going to the ballpark, going on a picnic. I only
had one day free to bird, so I couldn't make it to Brownsville and the lower Rio
Grande Valley. That means I'll have to make another trip to add area specialty
lifers such as brown jay, Audubon's oriole, hook-billed kite, and blue bunting
which are all in the Rio Grande Valley area. Instead , I opted to spend a day
exploring the Edward's Plateau.
I spent time at two well-known birding areas: Lost Maples State Park and Kerr Wildlife Management Area. It was hard birding because it was windy and cloudy. But, with a lot of work, I was able to get 3 specialty birds: GOLDEN- CHEEKED WARBLER, BLACK-CAPPED VIREO, and ZONE-TAILED HAWK. Birding alone is enjoyable, but it was apparent on this day that I could have used help. With the wind howling, and no sun, it was hard to hear and to locate the birds. Each of the speciality birds, and many of the other fifty some species I saw during the day, I didn't get good looks at. Contrast this experience with our recent trip to see the Gunnison Sage Grouse. Twelve birders, traveling in two vans, stopping at good locations, and easily locating the birds we were looking for is much more productive in the long run than birding alone. I have an impromptu photo of a trip to the Rio Grande from a year ago showing six people intently looking in six different directions. You can't tell me that more sets of focused eyes are not better than one. No matter what your expertise in birding, more sets of eyes (and ears), increase your chances of finding the bird . My wife, Carolyn, is not an avid birder, but many times she directs me to movement in the tree or singing in the distance, and I take it from there.
In the February 2001 edition of "Birding" is an article about the recording of unusual vagrants (migrants) in Illinois. The article discusses the records, annual distribution, and length of stay of rare migrants over the last 20 years. The message that struck home was that if you want to build your state list, the easiest way to do it is to participate in well run field trips with target species in mind. The key here is that when it comes to finding rare birds, going with a knowledgeable group helps. The Eyes Have It!
by Robin Tuck
I don't actually hate business trips, and Atlanta is not bad this time f year, It's just that I'd rather be home. Our customer has been great and our interviews have gone well, but there just has not been enough time for serious birding. My co-workers run a mean interrogation and can extract information from the most reluctant interviewee, but their concern for birds is only being polite to me. They look when I point and show me if they happen to see a bird first, but tell me to cover my ears when they have a bird (fowl) related joke to tell. I can escape the grind early or late, always alone for breakfast and dinner are a bigger attraction than the 'call-of-the-wild' being heard outside. And the calls are there, in a rich calophany of sound. The problem is that I've never heard them before. "What is that?" I wonder as I scan the trees. Gradually I begin to find them, most new to me. Northern Cardinals pop into view first, then Blue Jays, Purple Finches and Brown Thrashers. Of course, ordinary birds are there too: American Crows, Rock Doves, Turkey Vultures, Mallards and Canada Geese. Some were almost the same, but different: the Yellow-rumped Warbler was an Audubon's Form and the Towhee was an Eastern, but the good old American Robin was still the same. Wonder of wonders, I didn't see many European Starlings; I must have been too far from the city center. Yes, Atlanta is a mighty-fine place to visit this time of the year.